American Princess Review: Lifetime’s New Summer Comedy Doesn’t Feel Like One

June 3, 2019
Jonathon Wilson 0
TV, TV Recaps


If gross-out humour is your thing, Lifetime’s new summer comedy does it pretty well. Anyone else need not apply.

This American Princess review is based on the first two episodes and contains spoilers. Weekly recaps will continue henceforth.

After watching the first two episodes of Lifetime’s new summer comedy American Princess, it’s pretty easy to spot the influences of Jenji Kohan, the creator of Orange is the New Black and the executive producer of GLOW, who here produces alongside series creator Jamie Denbo. The good-looking upper-class socialite in need of humbling is Amanda (Georgia Flood), who is forced to cancel her fairytale upstate wedding when she finds her spouse-to-be playing away. Absconding to the countryside, she stumbles into a Renaissance fair, this being the counter-cultural community where she will be forced to navigate a unique set of rules and colorful characters in order to learn more about herself and her vain existence.

So far, so familiar; swap out prison jumpsuits for corsets and you’re halfway there. American Princess even boasts the same willingness to lean against gross-out humor and general oddness, and every now and again it’s even quite sharply written. But here that style of humor seems to be deployed for a lack of any better ideas, and anyone who isn’t keen on it won’t find much to latch onto otherwise. The gags work their way towards obvious punchlines or cheap stabs at airhead cliches, most of which are meaningless. And because the show itself seems not to like Amanda too much, it’s difficult for the audience to care about her either.

The sprawling cast is pretty unwieldy too, and not always to great effect, even if Denbo occasionally manages to do some interesting things with how these characters interact and where their individual stories seem to be going. It’s obvious that the intention is to populate a world around Amanda that is even more ridiculous and obnoxious than she is, but because she’s so difficult to root for the show’s point remains kind of elusive. There’s a decent chance that American Princess finds an enthusiastic audience who’re perfectly happy with its enthusiasm for bodily fluids and overdone sexuality, but one can’t help but hope it finds more to be about than that.

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